I have to admit that until writing this blog post, I didn’t know much about A. A. Milne, other than he wrote Winnie the Pooh. At that, I never read it or had much attachment to the characters when I was younger (although I do have a rather cute picture of me and Tigger from a visit to Disney World right after high school.) However, after reading the introduction to The Sunny Side and getting a glimpse of Milne’s dry humor, I got excited to find out a little bit more about our author for this month’s book.
So off to Wikipedia I went, where I found out some very interesting facts about A.A. Milne. Here are a few that might be helpful for our discussion and a few that I thought were just plain interesting:
- Alan Alexander (A .A.) Milne was born in Kilburn, Lindon on January 18, 1882.
- One of his teachers was H.G. Wells.
- Milne was a contributor and later an assistant editor of the leading British humor magazine, “Punch.” The Sunny Side is a collection of writings published in “Punch.”
- In his lifetime Milne wrote more than 25 plays.
- Milne fought in the British Army in World War I.
- Milne’s only son Christopher Robin Milne was his inspiration for his Winnie the Pooh books, his most famous works.
- During World War II, he was a major critic of P. G. Wodehouse (author of The Code of the Woosters, our book club book from December 2009). Wodehouse was captured by the Nazis at his country home in France and interned for a year. Following his release, he made radio broadcasts that were sent from Berlin about his year-long imprisonment. Although his broadcasts poked fun at the Germans and Wodehouse was actually more clueless than traitorous, Milne “accused Wodehouse of committing an act of near treason by cooperating with his country’s enemy.” Wodehouse later got back at Milne through a parody of the Christopher Robin poems.
- Milne had always wanted to write whatever he wanted, but after the success of the Pooh books, he had a hard time finding an audience for his writings for adults.
- After a stroke and brain surgery in 1952, Milne retired to his country home where he was an invalid until his death on January 31, 1956.
There’s so much more to Milne than that “silly old bear” that ended up defining his career. I’m glad we’re branching out to discuss one of the lesser-known works from this prolific author. I think A. A. Milne would appreciate it!
See you on June 21 for our discussion on The Sunny Side!